July 30, 2004
Researchers are testing the world's first effective shark repellent in the ocean off Bimini Island in the Bahamas.
Perhaps a case should be delivered to the Washington Education Association. That's probably the only way they could keep Stefan from latching on to them.
Posted by awm at 05:17 PM
July 29, 2004
Just a reminder for all you Precinct Committee Officers out there: the last day to file to get on the ballot is this Friday. You can file at the office of the King County elections division. You have until 4:30pm. The cost is a dollar.
Posted by awm at 05:41 PM
July 28, 2004
Welcome a new collective blog to the Seattle scene. Sound Politics is the brainchild of Stefan Sharkansky, who is doing so much to change the way Seattlites think about their local government. I am a contributor, and all of my posting about local government will appear there, except for updates on very local issues such as Whittier Heights. Four other local bloggers will also contribute: read their introductions here.
Posted by awm at 10:06 PM
No children sent to Iraq
Via Andrew Sullivan, this Drudge report on an exchange between Michael Moore and Bill O'Reilly. Generally I think O'Reilly comes off well, but he totally flubs the answer to Moore's first question to him. Moore asks "would [you] sacrifice your child to secure Fallujah?" and asserts "it's Bush sending the children there [Iraq]." What O'Reilly fails to call him on, and what others haven't called Moore on when he has made the same assertion in times past, is that no one is sending children to Iraq. Bush is sending adults to Iraq, adults who made a conscious decision to join the military knowing that they might be put in harm's way.
The question "would you sacrifice your child?" is a false one. No parent makes that choice. Parents educate their children to have certain values: honor, love of country, self-sacrifice. The adults those children become decide how to honor those values. Many people choose to pursue risky, selfless professions: soldier, police officer, aid worker, fire fighter. Ask any one of their parents "under what circumstances would you sacrifice your child?" and the answer will be "none." A parent's first instinct is to protect. Moore isn't interested in getting a reasoned answer - any reasoned attempt to answer would come across as callous - he is just interested in asking a question that can only make his target look hypocritical. That is the tactic of a propagandist, not a documentarian.
Posted by awm at 06:52 PM
The New York Times is selling heroic pictures of Vladimir Lenin. Also available: Trotsky reviewing the troops and imperial soldiers joining the revolution.
The minimum price for a photo is $195, $340 if you want it framed -- definitely not accessible to the proletariat. Perhaps a socialist billionaire like Rob Glaser will subsidize a purchase for the masses -- he could start with Fremont.
Posted by awm at 06:25 PM
July 25, 2004
My wife and I spent Sunday afternoon at a Blogging picnic in Seward Park organized by Stefan Sharkansky. It was good to finally be able to put faces to names and meet a few new folks as well. In addition to Stefan, I spent time talking to Matt Rosenberg, Brian Crouch, The Timekeeper, Ambra Nicola, the Man Mountain, Kevin Leo, and Timothy Goddard. Forty-third district state representative candidate Mark Griswold was there for the whole event, along with Armen Yousoufian. Both Republican candidates for Attorney General (Mike Vaska and Rob McKenna) made appearances. Of course, everyone forgot to bring cameras, so no photos of the event. Note to self: keep your camera in your car!
Posted by awm at 06:17 PM
July 24, 2004
Another Massachusetts Miracle. Recent MIT graduate Erika Ebbel has been crowned Miss Massachusetts! Go Tech!
Posted by awm at 05:23 PM
July 15, 2004
About 25 people showed up, chanting "No more mullahs!" I only had time to stay long enough to snap a few photos, but was happy to see the turnout and enthusiasm. For more information, see my earlier Iran freedom post
Posted by awm at 06:19 PM
Encourage Gay Republicanism
Two suspects have been arrested in last month's beating of a gay Seattle man. Stefan Sharkansky commented last week on a march in support of the victim:
Now that more members of Seattle's gay community are speaking of the need for law enforcement to be tough on crime (and presumably also for the need of ordinary citizens to own and carry weapons to defend themselves), I hope we'll see more "tough on crime" gays coming over to the Republican Party.
One group that already practices what Stefan is preaching (at least the self defense part) is the Pink Pistols
. They have a Seattle chapter called Cease Fear
. Cease Fear's website has not been updated since June 2000, so they may be defunct, but this group would be wonderful for local Republicans to reach out to, demonstrating the GOP cares for the safety of all citizens.
Another group to strengthen ties to is the Log Cabin Republicans, which has a Washington State chapter.
Posted by awm at 06:10 PM
July 07, 2004
I haven't seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet. I've been waiting for some of the hoopla to die down. Like the Shark, I want to see it because of the impact it is having on the national debate. Most likely I'll see it this weekend.
In the mean time I content myself with sites like fahrenheit fact, which has been fact-checking the movie since it came out. And it's also a Blogarithm user!
Posted by awm at 07:44 AM
July 05, 2004
This Seattle Times editorial is a reminder of just how invisible Republicans are in Seattle. How did Seattle get this way? It's a matter of feedback: Seattle today is welcoming to Democrats, so more move here and the city becomes even more welcoming. Meanwhile Republican ideas get less credence and now Republicans tend not to settle here.
But this can be reversed and balance restored. If the Republican party wants to keep from becoming extinct in the city, it needs a higher profile -- not just on national issues, but on local ones. People who want lower taxes, more parental control in schools, and cooperation with national authorities on anti-terrorism measures must know they have compatriots in Seattle, that if they settle in Seattle they will have an organization to work on their concerns. Local Republican organizations should band together to advertise their existence so no one thinks the term "Seattle Republican" is an oxymoron.
Posted by awm at 10:38 AM
July 04, 2004
Happy Independence Day
I love the Fourth of July, partly because of the barbeques, partly because of the fireworks, partly because in Seattle it heralds the start of summer, but mostly because it reminds me to reread the Declaration of Independence. It's only a few pages long: go read it now.
Posted by awm at 04:48 PM
PBS Orwell watch
I watched a fascinating episode of the PBS show Wide Angle last week. The topic was suicide bombers in Israel, specifically interviews with several bombers who thought better of it, threw away their explosive belts and were either captured by or turned themselves in to the Israelis. They were interviewed in jail.
The heavy spin from the program was that these bombers were driven to their actions by intolerable conditions created by Israel, but the impression I got was that they were typical troubled teenagers and that the prime difference between them and their peers in other parts of the world is that they were offered suicide belts by terrorist recruiters. One kid (these were boys under 18) was clearly a local outcast, probably picked on by other kids and with no prospect of a girlfriend. Another had recently moved to the West Bank from Jordan, and must have been going through a nasty adjustment to his new situation. I'm not saying that the typical angst-ridden American teenager would commit suicide if given the chance, but suicide as a means of social acceptance is not unknown in the world -- see for example the hangings of young men described in The Tipping Point.
This impression was strengthened by the other two interviews in the show, one with a suicide bomber recruiter, and one with a man who outfitted the bombers. These two were clearly out to lure a certain personality type to use for their own ends. The only concern was advancing their own agenda (which was clearly to total descruction of Israel, not just establishing an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza).
The Orwellian part of the broadcast was that the two organizers were always referred to as "activists." This is true doublespeak. An activist is someone who works through the political process to effect social change. Someone gathering signatures for a ballot measure which would increase teachers' salaries is an activist. The folks mentioned below organizing a demonstration for Iranian freedom are activists. The issue doesn't need to be laudable: even someone lobbying his congressman against equal rights would be an activist, as long as his methods were peaceful.
People who recuit teenagers to kill other children are not activists -- they are terrorists, they are gangsters preying on the vulnerable as much as pimps who force runaways into prostitution or drug lords who use 10 year olds to sell crack. To call them activists is a slur on all the millions of people around the world who dedicate a part of their lives to making the democratic process work.
UPDATE: Rereading this entry, I am afraid I may have left an impression that I believe suicide bombers themselves are victims. This is not my intention. While young, they are still old enough to know right from wrong, and their desire for indescriminant killing is evil. We must hold them accountable for their actions, and indeed these attempted bombers are all holding prison terms.
One thing does separate the attempted bombers from those who detonated and those who recruited and armed them: in the end they turned away from violence and chose life. We can only hope they will be kept away from the unrepentant terrorists so that years from now when they are released they will try to return to a semblance of normal life.
Posted by awm at 02:39 PM
Demonstrate for freedom in Iran July 7th
The activists at Free Iran are organizing demonstrations for the 18th of Tir (July 9th), and have a petition you can sign in support. They aim to get the G8 nations to put pressure on the current theocratic regime through economic sanctions. It is important to support this effort: the current "reformist" government of Iran plays good cop to the Ayatollahs' bad cop, but neither is interested in true reform which would create a secular state allowing religious tolerance, freedom of expression and equality of the sexes, and end support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah. Demonstrations will be held in several cities around the world, including Seattle at Westlake Center on July 7th from 6pm to 8pm. I will be there, and encourage others to attend.
Posted by awm at 02:04 PM